Shopping at The Outlets at Orange

Frugality is in my blood. I’ve been shopping at thrift stores from such a young age that the idea of paying full-price gives me hives, and luxury retail outlets are completely out in my book- I’d probably faint at the cash register. I’ve never quite been able to nerve up for such purchases, plus it’s likely that my credit card would explode.

Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to attend the Outlets at Orange “Fall Tweetup – #OAOFallTweetUp last month. A Twitter-based event that was promoting the re-branding of the former “Block at Orange” as an in-county outlet destination. The event featured sampler snacks from eateries located within the Outlets – Café Tu Tu Tango, Corner Bakery , and Jamba Juice. We also tasted fabulous candy, compliments of Sweets from Heaven, and attendees received a quick walking tour of the Outlets (while hastily tweeting) with stops at the major anchor stores. After experiencing the event, I realized that shopping at upscale merchants is a possibility, even with a limited budget.

South Coast Plaza (SCP) tends to be the ultimate in terms of an Orange County shopping area for luxe goods. Most stores within its boundaries are fabulous, stylish, and far out of the reach of my pocketbook. Not so at the Outlets at Orange. The same familiar names you see at SCP are present as you walk through the Outlets outdoor mall- Saks Fifth Avenue (Off 5th), Nordstrom (Nordstrom Rack), Neiman Marcus (Last Call), Ann Taylor (Loft), and so much more.

The outlet stores offer the same or similar merchandise that you would see on the sales floor in a full-price storefront, only at a fraction of the cost. The merchandise mix is mostly higher-quality goods, some of which come from the full-priced stores and others that are produced specifically for the outlets (think denim, in particular). Other outlet stores are geared toward family shopping, like The Childrens Place, Carters, and Gymboree. A huge H&M store is also centrally located for inexpensive everyday fashion.

The stores at the Outlets are seasonally on-trend. Featured fall fashion choices at the Outlets included striped cardigans, rocker-chic studded metal and leather bracelets, bright jewel tones, tall equestrian boots (great over leggings) and animal prints. Plus, clothing is not your only option- there are numerous family venues, like Dave and Busters, Vans Skate Park, and AMC theaters, as well many other stores (Bath & Body Works and Guitar Center, to name a couple). You won’t go hungry, with places to eat like TGI Fridays, Corner Bakery, Alcatraz Brewing Company, and much, much more. It’s a great way to spend the day or evening, whether alone or with your family. There are affordable options for everyone. With Christmas on its way, the Outlets at Orange is a great place to start filling in your gift list. When you’re done shopping, visit the Burke Williams Spa at the Outlets to treat yourself for a job well done. That and a glass of wine (or relaxing tea) should make the day complete.

Find of the day: Bella Dahl striped cardigan at Nordstrom Rack for $24.99.

About Justine

Justine is a biological anthropologist, deal seeker, and stay-at-home parent to a rambunctious 4-year-old boy. She digs bones. And donuts. You can follow Justine for more frugal fun and other anthropology tidbits on Twitter: @JustineBurgess1.

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to the #OAOFallTweetup event as a member of the press. All thoughts, pictures and opinions remain my own.

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